New York, April 5, 2019–A Belgrade court today convicted four former Serbian state security officers of the 1999 murder of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija, owner of the mass-circulation Dnevni Telegraf, Serbia’s first private daily, and the weekly magazine Evropljanin, independent regional news website Balkan Insight reported. Ćuruvija, 51, was shot and killed on April 11, 1999, outside his home near the Yugoslav Parliament building.
“We welcome decision of the Serbian court to sentence the four perpetrators responsible for the killing of Slavko Ćuruvija, a journalist and an outspoken critic of Slobodan Milosevic’s regime, to lengthy jail terms 20 years after the murder,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said. “Serbian authorities should continue to work toward complete justice by identifying those who ordered the murder and pursuing their prosecution.”
The former head of Serbian state security, Radomir Marković, and security service officer Milan Radonjić were each sentenced to 30 years in prison, and secret service agents Ratko Romić and Miroslav Kurak each received 20-year prison sentences, according to Cenzolovka, a website that tracks media violations in Serbia. Marković and Radonjić were charged with instigating a grave murder, while Romić and Kurak were indicted for carrying it out, according to local news website B92. B92 also reported that the prosecution believes the murder was ordered “by top state officials at the time.”
The court’s first-instance ruling can be appealed, B92 reported. Ćuruvija’s case was a focus of the Commission for the Investigation of Murders of Journalists–established in 2012 and comprised of journalists and government officials–described in CPJ’s 2014 investigative report on breaking the cycle of impunity in the killing of journalists.